It looks like the Sun’s headline “Muslims give you cancer” (I didn’t see the actual headline, myself, but I think that was the gist of it) was not entirety accurate. It appears that Rupert Murdoch’s tawdry scandal sheet chose to use a different polling company, as the original one refused to do this one because it would not be accurate. The Sun is rarely concerned about accurate reporting so guess what they did?

I cannot share the view that islam is always a peaceful religion but by the same token I don’t share the view that muslims are the problem. I won’t say that some of my best friends are muslims, but I’ve known a good few over the years and apart from a set of religious beliefs that I find, well, unbelievable, they have generally seemed decent folk. I am not aware of any who have wanted to destroy the country the country or even fundamentally change it. One once told me that he would far rather live in Britain, practicing his religion, than in Pakistan, where he came from. He preferred the liberal lifestyle here, even if he did not participate in a fair bit of it. He even came to the pub with me once, not drinking anything, but being pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere. And he loved, absolutely loved, KFC, Halal or not. “Don’t tell Allah” he said.

I say this because the Sun’s sole aim yesterday was to turn us (further?) against muslims. They would have taken a commercial decision – that is what Rupert Murdoch does – on the basis of what they believe their readers would want to read. Put simply, they did a scare story to make money by scaring people and by trying to make them angry. If it turns out that some Sun readers are not – how shall we put this? – the sharpest tools in the box, it can only be a logical move for an illogical mind to assault a muslim or daub paint on a mosque. I don’t know why the newspaper didn’t simply lead with a headline like, “Kill a muslim and win a new car”. They might as well have done. (This is a variation of an old Private Eye joke from the Falklands war where the spoof front page read, “Kill an Argie and win a Metro!”)

The last thing we need is the upping of national angst. We need calm heads which is the last thing we will get from the gutter press. Depressing, isn’t it?